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Anyone can experience family violence. It is a widespread social problem that affects people from all walks of life regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.

Some groups are more likely to experience family violence than the general population, these include:

Women

  • Women are 3 times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men (Source: ABS)
  • 1 in 3 Australian women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. This is equivalent to 3.2 million women (Source: ANROWS)
  • Women are 24 times more likely than men to become homeless due to the experience of intimate partner violence (Source: safe steps and No to Violence)

Women with disabilities

  • Women and girls with disabilities may be twice as likely to experience violence as those without disabilities (Source: Dunkley and Phillips)
  • Women and girls with disabilities are more likely to experience more severe forms of violence and for longer periods (Source: Morgan and Chadwick)
  • Women with disabilities are 37.3% more likely than women without a disability to report experiencing some form of intimate partner violence (Source: Women with Disabilities Australia)

Children

  • Children are present in 1 in 3 family incidents attended by Victorian police (Source: Royal Commission into Family Violence)
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of mothers who had children in their care when they experienced violence from their previous partner said their children had seen or heard the violence. (Source: ABS)

Young people

  • Young women (18 – 24 years) experience significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than women in older age groups. (Source: ABS)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women report experiencing violence in the previous 12 months at 3.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous women. (Source: SCRGSP)
  • In 2014–15, Indigenous women were 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence as non-Indigenous women. (Source: SCRGSP)

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) individuals

  • Immigrant women are more likely than non-immigrant women to be murdered as a result of family violence (Source: Taylor and Putt)
  • 20% of women assessed by safe steps between 2016-17 identified at CALD (Source: safe steps internal data)
  • Women and men from CALD backgrounds were less likely to consider family violence as serious compared to people from non-CALD backgrounds (Source: Taylor and Putt)

LGBTIQA

  • LGBTIQA persons are more likely to experience family violence and are also less likely to report it (Source: O’Halloran)
  • 1 in 3 LGBTIQA Australians report having been in a relationship with an abusive partner (Source: Gannoni and Cusson)
  • 62% of transgender males have experienced abuse within their relationships (Source: Gannoni and Cusson)
  • Males are more likely to be perpetrators and victims of same sex partner homicides (Source: O’Halloran)
  • LGBTQI persons are more likely to experience many more barriers in accessing support services, crisis accommodation and structured support than cisgender women or men (Source: O’Halloran)

People aged 65 and over

  • It is estimated that 2-10% of older Australians experience elder abuse in any given year. The prevalence of elder abuse is known to be vastly under reported (Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies)
  • Older women are two and a half times more likely to experience violence than older males (Source: Morgan and Chadwick)
  • The most common types of abuse experienced by older persons are financial abuse and psychological abuse (Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies)

Other risk factors

There are other risk factors that have been linked to increased severity in experiences of family violence. These include:

Pregnancy and new birth

This is often a time where family violence escalates, or commences for the first time.

  • Of all women who report experiencing family violence since the age of 15, 1 in 4 will experience it for the first time during pregnancy (Source: ABS)
  • 17% of women assisted by safe steps between 2016-17 were pregnant or had recently given birth (Source: safe steps internal data)

Separation

Family violence tends to escalate when a women is preparing to leave, or has recently left an abusive relationship.

  • The first three months post-separation is the most high risk time for a family violence homicide to occur (Source: Dunkley and Phillips)

Childhood abuse

  • People who had experienced sexual abuse as a child were 3 times more likely to experience intimate partner violence (Source: ABS)